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July 19, 1973 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1973-07-19

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Summer Daily
Summer Edition of
Edited and managed by students at the
University of Michigan
Thursday, July 19, 1973 News Phone: 764-0552
Senate disaster
THE OIL LOBBY won a great victory Tuesday when
their bill authorizing the licensing of the Alaskan
oil pipeline and the immunization of the project from
further challenges in court was passed by the Senate.
The vote allows an ecologically questionable project
to proceed but leaves environmentalists without re-
course in the courts.
The action not only is ecologically hazardous and
a dangerous legal precedent but also may not help the
parties that need the oil the most, the fuel-starved Mid-
THE ADMINISTRATION-backed bill allows a consort-
ium of oil companies to build a 789-mile pipeline
across mountains and tundra from the North Slope oil
fields to the ice-free port of Valdez on Alaska's southern
shore. From there the oil would be moved by tanker to
West Coast refineries.
The opponents of the Alaska route argued that a
rupture of the pipeline in the sensitive tundra area in
Alaska could have permanent and disastrous effects on its
ecology. They also charged that widespread oil spills
from the tankers transporting the oil might have simi-
lar effects. These environmentalists preferred an all land
route through Canada.
THAT THIS BILL was passed, backed by the rich oil
lobby and pushed by their powerful friends in the
Senate, is bad enough. But the action most painful was
the vote to immunize the project from further action in
the courts.
The National Environmental Policy Act mandates
that an impact statement by the Interior department be
made on all projects in ecologically sensitive areas. If
environmentalists believe that the statement is insuf-
ficient, they may take the case to court. The action
taken in the Senate Tuesday by a 49-48 vote prohibits
court review of the imoact statement.
The precedent taken is a dangerous one. There is
real doubt as to the Administration's sincerity towards
the enforcement of environmental legislation. The re-
view of the courts, as provided in the NEPA, is an insur-
ance against conflicting interests and the power of cam-
paign contributions.
THE ROUTE OF THE Alaskan pipeline is also disad-
vantageous to the Midwestern states that need the
oil the most. The oil from the Alaskan route will be more
costly and less available for the Midwest than if it came
directly from Canada. Oil companies may find shipping
surpluses to Japan more profitable than transporting it
by land to the Midwest.
Nearly all the midwestern senators including Sen.
Phil Hart (D-Mich.) were against the Alaskan route and
only two favored the restriction on the court. But, our
"muscle in Washington", Sen. Robert Griffin (R-Mich.)
was, of course, one of those Senators who put the oil
interests ahead of ecology and their state.
The bill now goes to the House where, hopefully, the
court restriction, at least, will be deleted. If this dan-
gerous amendment becomes law, every vested interst
will also attempt to circumvent court review. The re-
sult will destroy the heart of the NEPA as well as the en-


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Watergate might produce good

results-perhaps even

Scene: The Senate Watergate
hearings. H. R. Haldeman, for-
mer White House aide is on the
stand undergoing intense question-
ing. Though the interrogation is
tough, the cool Haldeman shows
no sign of cracking.
Suddenly from the back of the
chamber comes a voice screaming
"I did it, I did it." The TV cam-
eras quickly pan to the center aisle
to reveal a man running towards
the front of the chamber. Aghast,
we recognize the man as none
other than the President of the
United States - Richard Milhous
Dropping to his knees in front of
the horrified senators, the Presi-
dent, panting, sobbing blurts out
his confession.
"It was me, I ordered the bug-
ging. I told them to get Ells-
berg. All the lying, all the dirty
tricks, I was responsible for all of
them, all of them."
Struggling to continue his voice
barely more than a whimper, Nix-
on adds, "But I didn't mean to do
anything wrong. I just wanted to
win. All those years of losing, all
those nasty comments. I couldn't
let it happen again. Can't you un-
With that the President's body
goes limp. He buries his face in
his hands and begins weeping un-
controllably. The cameras fade to
For those of us whose primary
interest in the Watergate hearings
is to see Richard Nixon hang, the
above Perry Mason-style scenario
would be the perfect conclusion to
the whole affair.
Driven by a basic aversion to his
administration and encouraged by
the words of John Dean, we listen
to each day of lengthy testimony,
waiting for that one piece of evi-
dence that will link the Watergate
crimes to the man at the top.
The recently uncovered fact that
the answer to the Watergate riddle
may lie on a piece of tape has
buoyed our spirits which had been
slightly dampened by the words
of Mitchell and Moore.
How beautifully ironic for Nix-
on to caught by a bugging system
he had personally installed to cap-
ture his own vain sense of per-
sonal history.

Yet it is by no means a certainty
even at this point that the truth
concerning Nixon's role will ever
come out.
For the moment the tapes re-
main part of the Presidential
documents the chief executive has
pledged not to release. And who is
to say that the tapes themselves
have not already been "deep six-
ed" by some Nixon loyalist.
Such an action, while attracting
a great deal of suspicion, would at
the very least preserve, the Presi-
dent's fragile legal innocence.
If, however, we look beyond our
sadistic desires for- just a mo-
ment, we realize that the Water-
gate hearings are likely to produce
a number of significant results,
event if Mr. Big escapes with his
For starters, the perpetrators of
the specific crimes most likely
will end up behind bars. With
them hopefully will go the White
House paranoia and battlefield
pyschology that made a Water-
gate - influenced election possible.
In the area of election ethics and'
financing, Watergate is likely to
generate some tougher watchdog
legislation for future campaigns.
Campaign records will hopefully
be examined with far greater
scrutiny and a special watch will
be kept to see that plumbers' ac-
tivities be restricted solely 'to the
White House pipes and toilets.
The Congress, long under the ex-
ecutive's thumb on questions of
impoundment and war - making
power, has emerged as a force to
be reckoned with in post-Water-
gate America.
With their setting of a withdraw-
al date in Cambodia and their re-
cent rejection of a Nixon nominee,
the legislators have re-established
a balance between the branches of
A similar balance has develop-
ed in the White House's relation-
ship with the press. A partially
operative Ron Ziegler can no long-
er blast the press corps as slan-
derous and hope to win in a battle
of credibility. Messrs. Woodward
and Berstein have seen to that.
Finally the Watergate scandals
-emphasis on the plural- have
produced a healthy mistrust of
government among the American
people, 71 per cent of whom, think

a hanging
the President was involved in at
least some aspect of the cover-up.
In a society where a skillful and
popular president has shown he
can get awayawithbalmost any-
thing, a cynical public" is often
the most effective tool we have in
battling governmental excesses.
Thus as a. result of Watergate
we may conceivably see a number
of reforms that would otherwise
have been impossible under a Nix-
on administration.

Watching him suffer
But as for that dramatic presi-
dential confession - well we may
just have to wait until it makes
the rounds of the late show.
Charles Stein is co-editor of
The Daily.
Letters to The Daily should
be mailed to the Editorial Di-
rector or delivered to Mary
Rafferty in the Student Pub-
lications business office. in the
Michigan Daily building. Letters
should be typed, double-spaced
and normally should not exceed
250 words. The Editorial Direc-
tors reserve the" right to edit
all letters submitted.

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